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The Room (2003) is legendary

Poster of The Room (2003) starring Tommy Wiseau

Poster of The Room (2003) starring Tommy Wiseau

Wesley Short

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The Room is a 2003 drama film directed, written, produced by and starring the one and only Tommy Wiseau. If you know anything about movies, you know about Wiseau and The Room. If you don’t, you need to. It goes by many names. Some call it the worst movie of all time. Some call it the greatest bad movie ever. It’s hilarious, awful, glorious and dreadful all at once. I had never seen the whole thing for myself until I recently bought a hard copy of it online. I watched it with my dad, and to put it shortly, we had a good time. I considered not doing this review since there has been so much already said about it by other, more well-known critics. However, since it has grown more relevant with the release of the new movie, The Disaster Artist, I couldn’t help myself but at least give this review a shot. So, without further ado, let’s find out how a movie so bad could be so great.

The Plot:

                The plot is very basic in and of itself. It’s how it is executed that makes it so miraculously stupid. Johnny, played by Tommy Wiseau, is a successful banker (or something like that, it’s not fully introduced in the film) who has it all. A nice apartment, a car, a secure job, money, and a loving fiancé… or so he thought. His fiancé begins to spread malicious rumors about him to his own friends, and begins an affair with his best friend, Mark. Soon enough, chaos ensues and tears Johnny and the people he loves apart.

It doesn’t sound like anything too bad nor too great at first, but wait until you see it. There are so many plot holes it’s hard to fathom. Mark is constantly oblivious to Lisa, Johnny’s fiancé, and her intentions. Even after the two had romanticized before, he still asks, “What’s going on here?” to Lisa every time she tries to seduce him. To add on to that, every time this happens he constantly tries to push away Lisa and stay loyal to Johnny, but then suddenly gives in to her antics with no buildup whatsoever. His cluelessness is off the charts and the audience can’t help but be irritated at it.

Many situations in which characters begin fighting or arguing always end with someone saying “I’m sorry”, or “Don’t worry about it” or “I don’t want to talk about it”, even though such a drastic event had happened. In one scene, Mark is about to throw someone off of a roof, and five seconds later he is apologizing for it. The tone and attitude of characters is more polarized than congress.

Several conversations are heard over and over again. Lisa and her mother have at least three conversations about how Lisa should stay with Johnny. Mark and Lisa always have similar encounters. Lisa seduces Mark, Mark is reluctant about it because he is afraid he’ll hurt Johnny, and he immediately gives in. This takes up a majority of the movie until the end, and can make the movie boring in some cases, but it’s worth it if you can get past them.

The Acting:

                As mentioned earlier, the acting is atrocious in this (which is one reason it’s so fantastic). Many of the funniest moments of bad acting come from Wiseau himself, who displays no emotion in many of his lines. In fact, many of his lines were dubbed horribly because he couldn’t remember them on set. With his broken French accent and no sense of being in character, he steals the show in this movie. From his infamous “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!” to the poorly done “Oh hi Mark”, he is a spectacle to see.

Tommy Wiseau isn’t the only awful actor in it, though. Juliette Danielle, the young woman who plays Lisa, constantly plays a very over-the-top bratty character. This might be due to her dialogue, but that’ll come later. In one scene, she desperately tries to act dramatic by screaming obnoxiously, and it’s hilarious.

Greg Sestero, the young man who plays Mark, is not too great, either. His lines aren’t delivered with much emotion, and whenever he is stressed, he simply shouts swear words with too much emphasis and fire (which is also hilarious). He later went on to become a model, so maybe that suits him, considering he doesn’t have to say much.

The Writing and Dialogue:

Once you thought it couldn’t get any worse/better, the writing is all over the place. In one instance, Lisa tells a lie to her mother that Johnny got drunk last night and hit her. Upon hearing this, her mother responds with, “Johnny doesn’t drink!” Yes, it’s not that big of a deal that Johnny hit her, he doesn’t drink. That’s the problem. Within the same conversation, Lisa’s mother revealed that she has breast cancer, and Lisa just takes it like a champ. No sobbing, no shock; she just continues the conversation like normal. In yet another conversation, Lisa showcases Johnny as a good man for taking care of a teenager named Denny, and treating him like a son, even though just days before she talked pure smack about him.

Any sort of conflict is resolved quickly and has no effect on the rest of the story. For instance, a scene where Mark and Johnny fight is quickly resolved with the fight being broken up and both of them saying “I’m sorry” to one another. Many other conversations and conflicts are abruptly ended the same way, and it keeps the story (or lack thereof) from moving.

The Editing and Cinematography:

                When making this film, Tommy Wiseau wanted to be the first filmmaker to ever use both 35 mm film and Hi-Definition film, so he ended up getting  both types of cameras and using them simultaneously when filming. However, only the 35mm film was used. Not that this really affected the turnout of the film, but it’s an example of the poor choices made by Wiseau that made the film much more expensive than it had to be. He also recorded some scenes with elaborate studio setups in front of green screen instead of simply filming them on location. This not only cost more, but made the film look even lower in quality.

There are also several strange choices in editing and camera angles that make some scenes look just downright bad or awkward. For example, a scene is already established in Johnny’s home, and there is a long interlude of a shot of the city, only to cut back to the same scene. Not only is this just a poor transition, but it takes up over 10 seconds of film. That may not sound like much, but when you’re watching it, you notice.

Final Thoughts:

                The Room is a cult classic that should simply be a classic altogether. There are so many quotable and memorable moments in it that are a staple of internet culture and pop culture, and deserve to be recognized more than they already are. These have all been revamped since the release of The Disaster Artist (which has been receiving positive reviews from critics). If you want a good time with friends and a good film to laugh at, check it out if you haven’t already.

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The Room (2003) is legendary